How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

How I Made $40k in Scholarships By Writing ESSAYS!

One of my biggest passions is to help those after me with school or career advice! Previously, I wrote a blog post on how I won over $40k in scholarships and paid for the entirety of my undergraduate AND graduate tuition!

A huge part of winning them is nailing your scholarship essays, so now I will share how I wrote the essays that won me those scholarships. In addition to your normal writing etiquette (i.e. be concise, creative, clear; open with a banger), I always made sure to answer one key question.

Why Should WE Give Our $$$ to YOU?

Regardless of what the prompt was, I would always frame my essay to focus on two key components. Following this rule of thumb made it REALLY easy for me to write the essays:

  1. What has been my impact/significance in the professional community?
  2. What has been my impact/significance in the sponsors’ community?

Professional Community
If I was applying to an Accounting scholarship then I would emphasize all of the ways that I would be or have been great in Accounting. Here are some things you can write about yourself in relation to your industry:

  1. Your current and/or past job in the industry
    Emphasize the positions that you’ve held and how you helped the company
  2. Your accomplishments and awards
    Recognitions, accolades, and certifications to show credibility and advanced subject matter expertise
  3. Your side projects
    Most above-average college students have the prior two – what’s something extra or special that you’re doing for your professional community?

Sponsors’ Community
Hit home and talk about the involvement you’ve had within the Scholarship Sponsor community. For example, if your university is giving out the scholarship, then you best start talking about how you rep’ the mascot and school pride all day long!

  1. Your sponsor’s values
    Give specific examples of how you have demonstrated the spirit of their values or addressed their mission statement
  2. Your investment to the community
    How have you given back to the community, what have you contributed, and how have you helped to develop the community?

The essay should feel personal and as if it was specifically written for that prompt, NOT generic. The scholarship sponsors should read your essay and know that it wasn’t a blanket submission – rather, that you are committed to THEM and you’ve got examples to prove it too.

Good luck! If you have any more questions related to scholarship, academics, or career, drop a note here!

Photo Credit: venustrappedinmars